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Full text of "A history of Persia"

388                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP
Khan and defeated Jafar Khan, he sent the spoils to Aga
Mohamed Khan and thenceforward became his staunch
supporter. Baluchistan at this period was ruled by Nasir
I., the Great, who reigned from 1750 to 1793, and whose
sway was acknowledged as far west as Bampur. He was
entirely independent. The rest of Persia had been the
cock-pit for the various pretenders to the throne, who
had fought for power as far north as the Caspian Sea and
as far south as the Persian Gulf.
The Neighbouring States.—Among the foreign countries
Afghanistan was peaceful under Timur Shah ; and his son
Zaman Shah at the opening of his reign was too much
occupied with internal troubles to be an aggressive
neighbour. Bokhara was ruled by Begi Jan,1 a Dervish
of die royal house, who extended the sway of the Uzbegs
over the whole of the region lying between the Amu
Darya and the Sir Darya. The reduction of Merv
opened the way for an invasion of Khorasan. In A.H.
1209 (1794) Begi Jan led his horsemen to the gates of
Meshed, but, finding it beyond his power to reduce
the capital of Khorasan, he informed his army that the
Imam Riza had appeared to him in a dream and commanded
him to spare the sacred city. It is curious that the
Uzbegs were content to raid and never attempted to
conquer Khorasan.
Turkey, which for many centuries had been Iran's
most formidable and aggressive neighbour, was at this
period too much occupied with European politics to take
any active interest in Persian affairs. The Ottoman
power was represented by Sulayman Aga, the Pasha of
Baghdad, who had defended Basra against the forces of
Karim Khan. His policy, much to the advantage of Aga
Mohamed, was invariably friendly towards Persia.
The Invasion of Georgia, A.H. 1209 (1795).—We come
next to the state of Georgia. Upon the death of Nadir
Shah, Heraclius, who had served him faithfully, had not
only freed himself but, as already mentioned, had annexed
Persian territory up to the Araxes. He was, however,
shrewd enough to realize that as soon as Persia was reunited
1 Malcolm, ii. p. 243, gives an interesting account of this remarkably clever man.